2023-03-16 Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Edward Dormier My wife and I were at the Philly show last night. Some thoughts / observations:
[1] No mention at all of missed shows or who may have been sick. At the open Bruce sounded very rough, but as the show went on his voice returned to how it has been for the other shows we have seen, and by I'll See You In My Dreams he sounded good. It will be interesting to see what NUGS does with the open of Ghosts which was sung in the key of LMNO — so much so that folks were looking at each other wondering what the rest of the show would be like. I wonder if they will dub in the line from another show, or send it out as is.
[2] The energy of the Philly crowd was great — as it always has been — and almost everyone was standing right up to the last row top in the 300 sections - unlike the other non northeast shows I have seen. The folks around me (section 112) were long term fans IMHO in that they knew the words and changes for Kitty and E Street Shuffle — and also Trapped wasn't a mystery to them. Best crowd of my shows so far by far (Tampa, Atlanta, Orlando, Denver, Philly) — and of course not a surprise.
[3] The band all looked fine and nothing obvious as to who was sick. Max did look a bit more exhausted by the end of the show then he has and my wife felt he might have been among those who were sick. But he was spot on all night until the end.
[4] While i was hoping for a bit more variety, I still loved the show - sorry the set listed LOHAD wasn't played. The Last Man Standing into Backstreets was particularly powerful for me last night — and the energy in the arena during Badlands didn't seem like 2023 but was reminiscent of the old days. I have always enjoyed Trapped since first hearing in Syracuse in 1985 and last nights version was strong. Bruce did seem spontaneously happy during the crowd sing along of Thunder Road. Although redundant for me, the closing run of songs from Thunder Road to the end (actually even from Badlands) was well appreciated by the Philly crowd.
[5] Bruce is the Boss, and has paid the cost to be the boss. He is performing the show he wants to right now — in the way he has planned - sending the messages he wants — and ending it with I'll See You In My Dreams to send people home — Even In Philly. It was pretty clear to me that nothing too special/different was going to happen in Philly, so the show matched my expectations. No whining or open letters from me.
[6] I walked around the arena for a bit outside before doors opened. This is the first show I can remember where I didn't see any of the "usual suspects" outside [magic marker man at the GA line (which BTW was short even at 6:00), the "walking wounded" waiting to be wheeled into their rightful spot at the stage, etc ] — but sadly also none of my SPL friends other long time Bruce fan friends. A mixed bag from that viewpoint.
[7] I remain optimistic that by the time the tour heads to EU and then returns for the summertime shows The Boss will feel he has had enough delivering his current theme and message, and we will see a much different show perhaps still incorporating some of the current elements and themes. The band IMHO is now hitting on all cylinders and could certainly handle other songs on short or even no notice — when Bruce is ready for them to do so.
Heading to State College Tomorrow, because I am still a prisoner of Rock And Roll.
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